Chapter One

We had roamed together, the best of life. Under the branches curled up tight were our bags. I moved in to pull a few belongings together quietly. It was my time to leave alone.

With my small satchel in place, and the lute tied loosely over one shoulder, I waved goodbye to the comfort of companionship. Mile after mile of road slipped on over my feet. Dusty air filtered through into my breathing aparatus while my mind flitted elsewhere. It was the age of the journey and I was not left behind.

After several hours, I twisted my head back towards the oasis where we had spent the night. My tracks pointed the way for any trackers. But no one had taken up the challenge it seemed. I could make out trees on the horizen behind me barely. Sixteen miles in four hours. A good pace.

We had always pulled each other forward to complete the journey. I'd be doing that myself from here on in. We are after all alone in this life in a fundamental way. We learn things on our own, and we die alone, even as someone holds our hand through the lessons of life and death. There is some comfort that we might encounter the same lessons in life and death, that we are of the same mettle, and yet we know instinctively where the truth lies. It is basic to what we are that we are alone inside with our thoughts. No journey can hide this. I hoped mine would bring forth the dust fallen of the future.

My shoes scuffled through heavier though shallow dunes blown across the ancient roadway. An aging gopher left tracks in front of me slowly retreating at my advance. I followed for some distance, and then growing bored with its rodent level curiousity, I ran forth. Sand spider mites squished in my prints.

I was headed towards the mountains. New peaks with snow and valleys wrinkling deeply between the mighty rocks. The quakes of '94 had left their children, new rock come forth to begin an eternity of mystifying man. Moutains like Andean gods, and I would walk amongst them.

It took three days, while my supplies ran low quickly to reach foothills. Dust still churned here, and I knew that my filters would be necessary far into the hills. My journey was begun.

NIGIRO _ s e a r c h i n g

[an error occurred while processing this directive]